Factors influencing bird-building collisions in the downtown area of a major North American city

Scott R. Loss, Sirena Lao, Joanna W. Eckles, Abigail W. Anderson, Robert B. Blair, Reed J. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Bird-building collisions are the largest source of avian collision mortality in North America. Despite a growing literature on bird-building collisions, little research has been conducted in downtown areas of major cities, and no studies have included stadiums, which can be extremely large, often have extensive glass surfaces and lighting, and therefore may cause many bird collisions. Further, few studies have assessed the role of nighttime lighting in increasing collisions, despite the often-cited importance of this factor, or considered collision correlates for different seasons and bird species. We conducted bird collision monitoring over four migration seasons at 21 buildings, including a large multi-use stadium, in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. We used a rigorous survey methodology to quantify among-building variation in collisions and assess how building features (e.g., glass area, lighting, vegetation) influence total collision fatalities, fatalities for separate seasons and species, and numbers of species colliding. Four buildings, including the stadium, caused a high proportion of all collisions and drove positive effects of glass area and amount of surrounding vegetation on most collision variables. Excluding these buildings from analyses resulted in slightly different collision predictors, suggesting that factors leading some buildings to cause high numbers of collisions are not the exact same factors causing variation among more typical buildings. We also found variation in collision correlates between spring and fall migration and among bird species, that factors influencing collision fatalities also influence numbers of species colliding, and that the proportion, and potentially area, of glass lighted at night are associated with collisions. Thus, reducing bird collisions at large buildings, including stadiums, should be achievable by reducing glass area (or treating existing glass), reducing light emission at night, and prioritizing mitigation efforts for glass surfaces near vegetated areas and/or avoiding use of vegetation near glass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0224164
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SRL, JWE, and RBB received funding for this research from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (https://www.msfa.com/) and Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC (https://www.vikings.com/). The funders played no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We thank C. Crose, G. Milanowski, A. Strzelczyk, and M. Kunerth for field assistance, J. Takekawa for assisting with procuring funding, Project BirdSafe volunteers who helped collect the data used to select buildings monitored in this study, and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and Stadium Management Group for access assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Loss et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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